A couple days ago I put a post up and realized that I take some things for granted when it comes to the art of communication. I never really knew communication was a thing until I got in college and took it in a class. I remember thinking there were communication skills that the class taught that I did by second nature.
When I got started speaking people told me to “tell my story” and I did. I told it in the only way I knew how. I did not realize that my story was actually captivating and caught the attention of the audiences I was speaking to. It wasn’t until almost 10 years later that I realized there was a pattern that I followed naturally, that actually made me a fairly decent communicator.
Over the past 10 years of speaking to audiences of all kinds of backgrounds (young, old, different language barriers, church, schools, and conferences) I have learned to perfect a couple of my talks. Well, maybe not my full talks since it’s usually a different topic but I have for sure perfected my intro to any talk that I am invited to.
Having my introduction perfected is important as I get invited to different places as a guest speaker, and even in my own youth group, as I am the speaker most Fridays. I realize that I have all of the first 2 minutes to capture the audience’s attention, or else I will spend the rest of my time trying to get their attention rather than getting my point across.
I want to give you a few tips that’s worked for me when it comes to capturing your audience no matter what context you are in:
1. Do something unusual– You would be surprised at how many talks an average person listens to. Especially, for people that are in the church world or involved in listening to speeches of some sort. The truth is, most introductions are BORING. Yes, I said it, BORING! My question that I asked myself before I give a talk, what can I do right now that will captivate the audience? In some cases I go into a church service with a bottle of vodka in my hand, in others, I spit some bars (rhymes for the mature audience), either way, you will remember me based on the captivating intro that I give. You can do the same!
2. Do something creative– Sometimes you may feel like I do not have anything to do in the beginning. Well, there is always something you can do. Play a funny video, tell an interesting story, sing a song (if you can’t sing it might be that much better,) or do something artsy. You can always use and leverage creativity to your advantage. This generation is a SIGHT and SOUND generation and they will see and hear you much better when you are creative. Nobody wants to hear you just talk. You need ways to engage.
3. Do something meaningful– Whatever you decide to do, you must do something that will make an immediate impact. Whether you make them cry, laugh, ask questions, or repeat after you, you must do something that will set you up for the rest of your talk. When you impact and capture your audience in your intro, the rest of your talk will be smooth sailing.
When you come up with your idea for your intro, you are now responsible for mastering it! I have two things that I keep in my back pocket that I can do no matter what audience I am in front of. One is to teach the audience a dance that will get them to participate. The other is a spoken word piece that I learned from a friend that tells a glimpse of my story. Both can work with absolutely any audience. Knowing this, it is up to me to decide when I want to use it. Once you master an intro that works best for your personality style and message, you will be ready to deliver an amazing talk!
Remember, nobody cares what you’re saying until you earn their attention. That is YOUR responsibility, not theirs. – Jose